Of travel scams and losses

What are the most common scams one can encounter when traveling abroad? We are sure you would have heard of more. But there is an interesting infographic in this article that sums it up. Remember we wrote about fake travel websites (here) last year?

Today’s not really about scams.

Some months back, we read about Joy’s experience getting around with luggages in a busy Athenian metro station. It was surely not a happy experience to lose all your money and documents and finding it hard to obtain help in a country which does not speak your language. We are sure some of us had experienced the same frustrations and sense of loss (not just of the money and documents) when this occurs.

And does anyone recall the recent news about Himalayan helicopter rescue insurance fraud?

Isn’t it such a sad state of affairs when there begins to be growing prevalence of petty crime in any travel destination? Perhaps our little red dot is small, and great pains had been put into ensuring that there remains low crime (though not no crime). And not just against tourists but also in general around the country. Because one of the most enjoyable thing about traveling to any place is NOT having a feeling of vulnerability.

But it does not mean that its all hunky dory here. Because there are many scams going around too… yes here! So much that our little red dot actually have an active scam alert site to warn of the schemes out there (https://www.scamalert.sg/). Essentially they advise

  • 别慌 (don’t panic and become vulnerable)
  • 别信 (don’t believe blindly)
  • 别给 (don’t give information freely)

If only there were ways we can emulate Japan, where discipline, honesty and politeness seems to be innate in the people. When can we become like that? Do we aspire to be so?

What is your view?

Weigh yourself before getting on a plane

What has weighing you before you get on the plane anything to do with safety? You might recall that sometime back we wrote about a hilarious announcement some years back by an airline seeking passengers relieve themselves before boarding the plane. And you might have also read about some Pacific carriers selling airticket seats by weight in articles some years back…

But what if a mainline carrier in Europe starts to ask you to step up to a weighing machine (read here)? It was voluntary of course. What would zip through your mind and what will your response be?

If you re-read the first paragraph and pull a link between them, you might think that the airlines were trying to manage excess weight on the flights. And remember, the heavier the plane is, the more fuel it will need to use. Afterall it takes energy to move things around right?

However is there a higher purpose to all of this? If you had read the link above, you might know now that the weight that a plane carries is based on estimates. And it is critical just like a ship on the high seas to have a reliable understanding of the weight load that the plane has to carry. Not just for fuel consumption, but also for potential distribution of weight on the plane. You did read the part where it says folks in first class weigh more than economy right?

Can you imagine if the weight too frontloaded on the plane?

Anyhow. The next time your airline asks you to volunteer to be weighed with all you carryon luggage you know why.

Cruising the polar regions

Well climate change is probably here. Set aside the arguments for a while. The ice is melting faster and earlier in the polar regions. And nowhere is that more evident than the arctic where more shipping activity has been taking place of late.

If the article here is to be taken as a reference, it would appear that the waters of the arctic is likely to see regular cruising by tourists and transport of cargo within the next few years. You know, there had already been container ships making that journey to test out how much time is saved to transport goods between Asia and Europe.

It is known that arctic ice reaches its minimum every September. And using that as a benchmark measurements have concluded that the amount of ice remaining has declined by 13% over a period of 30 years measured from 1980. And it seems to be a trend too. Might not be too far into the future that low lying regions of the world start to see the effects of the sea swamping over them. Coastlines will change and some places will be lost forever. Seafront real estate owners beware! Heheh.

We know this will cause concerns and heartaches to some. And it pains us too. Unfortunately climate change is here to stay it appears. Whether the activities of humankind is the main cause is no longer the debate to us. Because instead of pointing fingers it is time to do something. Climate change may open up a new travel routes, but it comes with a price.

What will you do about it?

How do you insure yourself?

Important question indeed. How? Now we are not insurance agents, so no worries about us being the ‘barbers’ who will recommend you run out there and start buying all the policies available. But this is truly a critical consideration when one makes frequent journeys.

Here in our little red dot as in most developed countries, the concept of buying insurance for your travel plan is not new. What piqued our interest in this topic was after reading this article some months back. While the story was one of how claims can go awry and the tips seeming valid, what went through our heads was this question: how do you insure yourself for your travel.

And we are not referring to insurance policies alone. Because that’s only for you to claim monetary compensation. And money isn’t everything. Ok, it is – and we take it back. Gulp. We’ve eaten our words, heard that?

Anyhow.

Contingencies. That’s what we are referring to. Are there backup plans that you may have in the event a flight delays and you miss a tour? Remember we almost had the same in the Caymans (here)? To be honest, we would have been deers in the headlights had the operator not pro-offered a later time slot. We did not have a mitigation plan as we were smooth operators expecting nothing to go wrong. But Mr Murphy struck us unsuspecting. So how?

What kind of ‘insurances’ do you take for yourself when you embark on a journey?

Is this dangerous – swimming with sharks

You might recall this post we put up two years ago on funny animal selfies. Can you imagine taking a selfie with a Great white shark? Well some people do. Like getting into a cage with folks on the boat throwing heaps of fish offal and blood into the water to attract them.

Sometimes goes awry… yikes! The sort of thing movies are made of.

But today our post is not about that. It’s about our own experience of swimming with sharks. Yeah you read that right. We SWAM with them. Not protected in a cage, or a glass tube somewhere in an aquarium. Paddling in the water with them… yeah beat that.

Heheh.

You might recall that we swam with a few of them large ones out there here. Ok ok what’s in a name – them whale sharks… They came pretty close and good photos were taken… now we know some might not agree with doing what we did if you dig into the details but it was an experience we just wanted to share with you.

Then there were the days when Mel nearly bumped into one (here) for real. You see, the lagoon was a nursery where baby black tips (4-5 feet long yeah) lived in safety (from whom you ask?). From what we don’t know. And Mel wasn’t using his presciption mask those few days.

Did you read those links to our posts and page? Heheh.. Would this be on your bucket list?

Cleanliness and health while on the road

One of the things about traveling is staying healthy and safe. And specifically we are talking about getting bitten by bugs. Not the ones out in the jungle. But in places where you’d least expect them.

In the past we had written about what is the dirtiest items in your hotel room (here). Two years ago we wrote about bed bugs (here) as one of our first posts. Yeah, that sure wasn’t a popular post, possibly because of the featured picture but probably also because it was among our first posts. Back in the day when we first started we had hardly any readership traffic! Heheh…

Hence it is time for us to revisit this topic, since it seems that these unwanted critters are making a real comeback not just in some parts of the world, but also beginning to be present in places that are quite unexpected – like on planes… We came across this article in the Straits Times recently while troughing through past articles. Darn it got us a little paranoid… not to mention the sudden feeling of itch coming out of nowhere.

Anyway. Now you know what to look out for.

Today with lots of us on the go, it is not just these bugs that get carried around. Viruses and bacteria too are being transported along too. We’ve read what folks pack for a journey for prevention. What do you do to prepare against bugs before getting on your journey?